Datazen – The On-site BI Option

I have talked to a number of people who looked at Power BI Preview and read that it will be replacing Power BI Office 365 as a cloud solution for mobile self-service Business Intelligence [BI] and thought what are we going to do? Some people are not going to go to the cloud. Since they have made that business decision, they were wondering what Microsoft was planning on offering in the non-cloud space? I was curious too, so I asked my local Microsoft Technical Sales Representative about what was the plan for people who wanted on-premises BI. The answer to that question is, use Datazen. Datazen is positioned to be the application for people who don’t want cloud but do want to create a rich self-service environment for doing self-service BI, which of course means that you can send the reports to tablets and phones.

Datazen vs Power BI Preview

When comparing the two products Datazen and Power BI Preview, there are a number of features which will sway people one direction or another.DataZenVisualizations  For example, Datazen doesn’t integrate with PowerPivot models, you have to flatten the model to connect. On the plus side, Datazen has a very robust security and distribution model which Power BI Preview does not. There are more visualization types in Datazen and the snap to grid makes using them a breeze. Power BI has the ability to connect with QuickBooks and other data sources such as Salesforce, which Datazen cannot do. Datazen is included with a current SQL Server maintenance agreement. Power BI will have an on-going per user monthly fee. Both have the ability to allow users to pick their own colors, rather than limit the selection to a series of color pallets, and both deploy to tablets and phones in addition to a web page. All of these factors, plus a whole lot more than I have space for here, weigh into the decision of which product you may select. If the foremost criteria for mobile Self-Service BI is No cloud, Microsoft’s solution in the self-service BI space is, use Datazen.

Future is Cloudy

Recently most of Microsoft’s new products have been very cloud based. Azure Machine Learning, is a great example of this, as no where can you find any document on Microsoft’s site about any plans to move that out of the cloud. The purchase of Datazen shows Microsoft is still accommodating people who just want to stay in house, which I missed in their announcement. I’ll be reading the upcoming releases a little more carefully from now on, as I am sure there will be many more.

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur


2 comments on “Datazen – The On-site BI Option

    1. Ginger Grant

      Dustin —
      To be honest, most people I talk to consider Datazen to be strictly a mobile solution, and don’t see it as an alternative for Power BI. Based on information from Microsoft, I see that they are trying to position Datazen as more than mobile solution by showcasing it as an option for people who want an on-premises solution. This is perspective I had never really considered before, and I am interested in seeing how this strategy develops over time. I think one part of the strategy is the further separation of Excel from Power BI which apparent in the pre-release information on Office 2016 as Excel “Power” features are being renamed. As I don’t work for Microsoft all my analysis and opinion is gathered from the information they release, so I am going to be keeping a lookout for more indication of this strategy going forward.



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